Ficus question

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Ficus question

Post  fiona on Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:51 am

Okay, next bonsai lesson:

Without wanting to appear snobbish, I'd recommend only ever buying bonsai from a proper bonsai nursery/trader. With no disrespect to Hirts, what you have is what we (again a bit snobbishly) refer to as Mallsai - the sort of bonsai that are mass produced in Japan, China etc and then exported in mass to the garden centres and home hardware stores of the western world. They are usually fairly young and sadly the process of exporting them often results in them being fairly unhealthy to the point of dying. Beginners are often put off the hobby because they obtain trees like these which die quickly and the new hobbyist automatically assumes that either bonsai are "difficult to keep" or that they themselves are just no use at it. Both are wrong assumptions.

Having said that, a mallsai ficus is what you have and I'd say use it as a tree to practise on. Look at Jerry Meislik's book and website and see if there's a style you could copy. BEar in mind that you have very spindly trunks as opposed to the thick ones you'll see in many of the photos. I'd see if you can find a style that uses multiple trunks or even ones where the trunks have been twisted round each other.

Iris suggested finding a club locally and going along. I'd agree. You will get help with the techniques to get some sort of style into your ficus. But an even better benefit of joining a club is that you are sure to find someone who would be quite happy to sell you at a reasonable price (or even give you for nothing) the trees they no longer want. That is how I acquired most of my early "beginner" bonsai.


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Re: Ficus question

Post  bring us a shrubbery on Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:24 pm

yea i was told it is about 2 years old.i went into this with the mindset of alot of trial and error...it seems pretty healthy has alot of new life growing on it so i guess only time will tell if it survives but i wont get frustrated if it doesn't make it...this is something i've been wanting to get into for quite some time and don't expect results over night ..im still young so i have plenty of time to do some growing

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Re: Ficus question

Post  drgonzo on Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:48 pm

bring us a shrubbery wrote:yea i was told it is about 2 years old.i went into this with the mindset of alot of trial and error...it seems pretty healthy has alot of new life growing on it so i guess only time will tell if it survives but i wont get frustrated if it doesn't make it...this is something i've been wanting to get into for quite some time and don't expect results over night ..im still young so i have plenty of time to do some growing

Since your in Mass, I would definitely recommend treating yourself in spring to a field trip out to either http://www.bonsaiwest.com/ or
http://www.nebonsai.com/mm5/merchant.mvc

Or better yet BOTH and go see what good material looks like in person, and maybe take something home with you.

-Jay


Last edited by drgonzo on Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:05 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Ficus question

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:56 pm

When you are going to have temperatures consistently about 75 F, report into three large pots with good basic potting soil, then cut off at about two inches and regrow.
The leaves are probably large because of lack of light both in the store and at your home.
These trees need as much light as possible.

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Re: Ficus question

Post  bring us a shrubbery on Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:30 pm

how big should the pots be?

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Re: Ficus question

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:36 pm

Each pot could be about the same size (but deeper) as the pot all three are in, but they don't have to be bonsai pots. These trees need to grow for a few years.

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Re: Ficus question

Post  bring us a shrubbery on Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:55 pm

will that fatten them up at all?

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Re: Ficus question

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:57 pm

bring us a shrubbery wrote:will that fatten them up at all?

Yes

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Re: Ficus question

Post  bring us a shrubbery on Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:18 pm

What should i use for a soil mix?

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Re: Ficus question

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:40 pm

For now I would use a peat or coir based mix. You can a mix made by Miracle Grow at Wal Mart that is fine for now.

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Re: Ficus question

Post  Bob Pressler on Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:15 am

Maybe 1 gallon size max. If too big the soil is likely to stay too wet.

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Re: Ficus question

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:18 am

Bob Pressler wrote:Maybe 1 gallon size max. If too big the soil is likely to stay too wet.

Agreed

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Re: Ficus question

Post  bring us a shrubbery on Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:20 am

Any good suggestions for a grow light?type of bulb to use ?

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Re: Ficus question

Post  nickalpin on Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:22 pm

I'm still new to the forums but jumping in...

I've been growing some ficus under fluorescent lights. The fixtures, which are sold as shop lights at home improvement stores, are cheap. I use the 'natural light' fluorescent bulbs. They're not high output so the bulbs need to be close to the leaves.


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Re: Ficus question

Post  Poink88 on Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:46 pm

bring us a shrubbery wrote:Any good suggestions for a grow light?type of bulb to use ?

T5 seems to be the standard nowadays but I went with T8 due to cost and availability and they work very well. The 2 bulb 48" fixture is about $15.00 at Walmart plus about $12.00 for a pair of 6500K (cool) bulbs. The set is about $27.00. I bought two for about $54.00.

Here is a post I made somewhere else======================
Since I read that T8 (32W=2,900 lumens) is comparable to regular T5 (28W=3,000 lumens) and both are almost half of the 54W T5HO (5,000 lumens)...I opted to buy the cheaper T8.

Read more here.. http://www.lightingtaxdeduction.org/technologies/t5.html


Table 1. Comparison of nominal four-foot lamp types. Source: OSRAM SYLVANIA
Posted Image

Two (2) 2 tube 48" T8's light fixture at Walmart ($15 each fixture plus $12 a pair of 48" 6500K T8 fluorescent tubes) produce more light and more efficient than a 2 bulb T5HO (just bulkier). For $54.00 I think it is a descent setup and I can buy the bulbs from Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowe's anytime. It is working fine inside my garage.

The BIGGER problem I have to address is the lack of humidity. I plan on buying the suggested humidifier and build a plastic enclosure for it...almost an indoor green house since my wife (and probably the HOA) won't allow me to do it outside. :ermm: I need to purge my garage better before the build so I think it will be basically for next winter.

Not sure if I am putting the plants too close to the light but my Logwood's leaves (underside) turned a bit purplish. They are not dry but looked different. The plants are back out though since the weather is mild now.

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Ficus Question

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:16 pm

Poink88 wrote:
Not sure if I am putting the plants too close to the light but my Logwood's leaves (underside) turned a bit purplish.
The purple pigment is the plant equivalent of suntan. It shows the plant is getting enough light.
Iris

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Re: Ficus question

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